Today is National Kids and Pets Day and was created by celebrity family and pet lifestyle expert, mother and pet lover, Colleen Paige in 2005. According to the webpage, this day is “dedicated to furthering the magical bond between children and animals to help bring awareness to the plight of pets in shelters awaiting new homes and educating the public about safety between children and pets.” The idea of guiding children to treat pets with compassion and teaching them responsible, safe interactions seems like a no-brainer to me yet we’ve all heard horror stories about caregivers leaving small children in particular unsupervised with the family pet.
Sam loves little kids. His gait quickens to check out any stroller along our walks, his tails wags furiously and he’s always patient letting kids pets him in our neighborhood and at the hospital. Being eye level with children, it’s especially my responsibility to make sure his interactions are closely supervised for everyone’s comfort and safety and I’m ever vigilant at watching his body language around them, checking for any signs of distress or unease. Too often adults leave children and pets vulnerable by not staying close by or by not seeing signs of distress in pets by ensuring a chubby well meaning hand doesn’t grab an ear or nose and pull too hard. It’s too easy to view the family dog as a 4-legged TV to ‘watch’ the kiddos. Supervision is necessary for both the child’s safety as well as for the family pet. We all know that children raised with pets tend to be more nurturing and compassionate and make better parents and pet owners once they’ve grown up but it’s our duty to make sure it’s done safely for both kinds of kids.
So celebrate the bonds between kids and pets today but know it’s your obligation to keep your pup or kitty safe around children. Diligence in that regard keeps our 2 and 4 legged kids safe and happy. So what special tips do you use to keep your fur-kid safe around children?
Live, love, bark! <3